Stop Trading Time For Money and Invest In Your Ideas
I position my feet two feet apart, making sure that my left toe slightly points out.
I tighten my grip, squeezing my right hand over my left thumb, ensuring its strong and just right.I sway back and forth to stay loose, dropping my right shoulder down.
I gently bring the club close to the white dimpled ball set on its tee, cheated just inside the plane of my left foot. Keep your eyes on the ball, head down, swing through, rotate hips, pivot at the hips, turn your wrists over, focus…and don’t swing too hard.
I take a long and deep breath, slowly and calmly raise the driver up, then WACK!
I take a full swing.
My eyes lose the ball, I am stiff, I swing way too hard, my timing is off, my left arm bends too much, my wrists don’t turn over. I hear a THUD, the embarrassing sound of my driver hitting the ground first and ball second.
I see a chunk of grass fly forward, and my golf ball shank hard to the left.
Blood rushes to my already ginger face as I try not to let my temper flare, and I try to ignore the voice in my head telling me to throw my club in frustration.
If you have ever golfed before, you may understand the above scenario.
Golf is one of the most difficult sports I have taken on, which is why I love it so much. The way I see it, building a successful tech company can be a lot like learning how to be a great golf player.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with golfer, and controversial tech millionaire Justin Hartfield, co-founder of WeedMaps.com. I knew he was a highly successful tech executive, but didn’t know that he was a golfer as well. In fact, during his undergraduate time at UCI, he had a buddy who was a caddy at Pelican Hill, the place where he got his first taste for the game of golf.
While talking with Justin about his swings to drive home the perfect shot, I learned some valuable lessons that any startup tech golfer should keep in their startup golf bag.
Lesson #1. Play because you want to. Maybe it’s cliché when someone says a book changed their life, but in Justin’s case, that’s what happened. The book was one of my favorites, The 4-Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss. After failing at his first few startups, Justin found himself working in a cubicle, miserable. Tim Ferriss shares in his book that it is a mistake to trade time for money.
Wanting to spend more time golfing and less time working for someone else, Justin was inspired to break away from the time for money trap. He walked into his boss and gave his two-weeks notice. That was his last day on the job, and he was escorted out with his boss telling him point-blank he was making a big mistake, but in more colorful words.
Takeaway #1. Read The 4-Hour Work Week and stop trading time for money.
Lesson #2. Pay your own green fees. At one point, while failing at attempts to make “the next big thing,” Justin was broke and living with 5 other people in a house, maxing out his credit cards to pay for beta testing on his big ideas. He was adamant about the power of bootstrapping, and not having to answer to investors early on in his startups. His dedication to scrapping through things paid off when weedmaps.com started to get traction, earning $300,000 a month.
Takeaway #2. Be inspired to invest in your ideas.
Lesson #3. Choose who is in your cart. It was exciting to learn that Justin started working with high school friends and he still works with them today. He was able to align himself with a great group of motivated entrepreneurs who shared his vision in creating the opportunity to work extremely hard to break out of the rat race, so that they could golf whenever the hell they want.
Keep in mind some partners jumped off the cart along the way. Those that got off before weedmaps.com got big probably wish that they didn’t leave, but that is the way that the cookie crumbles.
Takeaway #3. Surround yourself with the right team.
Lesson #4. Keep Swinging. Justin shared all of the failed attempts with me. What resonated the most was his ability to hit what he calls it the “reset button,” and keep charging on an iteration or an entirely new project. It almost seems like each time he failed, it gave him more desire to try again. Not all people have this kind of drive, but it is a trait that surely has helped him to find his success.
Takeaway #4. Own the failure process.
Lesson #5. Know how many yards to the pin. The common thing among all of Justin’s failures and his successes was his obsession with testing the market. It is his ability to test the market that helped him to recognize his failures, allowing him to scrap the pieces and move on with the next idea.
He lights up when he talks about the different types of testing that he does to make sure that customers like what he has built. And he literally was jumping out of his chair when he was pointing to charts and graphs that explained analytics and percentages of Google search words. Using tech jargon, he convinced me that I have a lot to learn, getting me pumped up.
Takeaway #5. Test, test, then re-test to make sure customers are engaged.
Justin has grown weedmaps.com from a college startup to a company with 120 employees that grosses millions a month. Learn from his golf lessons: Stop trading time for money. Be inspired to invest in your ideas. Surround yourself with the right team. Own the failure process.
Test, test, then re-test to make sure customers are engaged.
#inspired #4hrworkweek #golf